Golden Apple Award: Gerome Smith, Copper Basin Elementary

DUCKTOWN, TN (WDEF) – Gerome Smith spends his day cultivating young minds at Copper Basin Elementary. After the last bell rings, Mr. G digs in with the Gardening Club. Turns out he’s as good with vegetables as he is with children.

Janessa Nipper is the Principal at Copper Basin Elementary.

She says, “Every decision he makes is child centered. He tries to think what the kids will enjoy; what will be the best for every individual child. He goes above and beyond, (he) sees a need in the community. He’s started our Garden Club. We have a wonderful garden that the kids have learned how to grow food. They get to take the food home to their families. He builds the relationships with the kids, where they know they can go to him with what they need.”


When asked to describe himself, Mr. Smith says, “My name is G-E-R-O-M-E, Gerome Smith, but I go by Mr G. Mr G, he’s just a normal guy. Just somebody who likes to come and just do whatever needs to be done and do it as best he can. To be honest, I started my degree right out of high school and I went into the workforce, and I spent forever in the workforce. I built houses with my brother, who’s a contractor, for over 10 years. When the economy busted, I went and finished my degree up, and I got to open over here at Basin after a few years of trying, and I got in, and that’s where I’ve been.”


He continues, “They’ll say that I’m mean to them but no, well actually, I just like having fun and doing things, real life, hands-on and teaching them day-to-day truths that they’re going to carry throughout their life.”


Mr. Smith concludes, “We get along just fine. I can’t help that they like me. I just try to, I just try to be a normal human being. I want them to remember that they can do it their self, think for themselves, all the time, because nobody else can think for you, and I want them to always know, do their very best and do it right the first time, because that’s what matters in life. Treat each other the way you want to be treated.”



Categories: Education, Golden Apple Award 2022-2023, Local News, Polk County